This is it, y’all. The Indians were up 2-0, and now the series with the Yankees is tied 2-2. Game 5 will tell us if Cleveland can finish the job it started, or if, once again in its very, very said history over the last couple of decades, it’s going to blow it in a clinching game.
Corey Kluber is hoping his Game 5 performance makes everyone forget about his awful Game 2. The Yankees are hoping for a repeat of that short, brutal outing, but maybe this time with fewer head-scratching decisions from manager Joe Girardi that blow the lead and the game. It’s win-or-go-home time, starting at 8:08 p.m. ET.
As usual, if you want to read the live blog from the beginning, scroll down to the “1st inning” header and work your way back to the top.
Shaw gets Todd Frazier to fly out, but then Brett Gardner hits a rocket back up the middle for a single, and as the broadcast notes, he’s a danger to steal. And he might need to, given Judge is up and let’s be real, is probably going to strike out. He’s capable of doing other things, yes, but just like the Yankees have contained Jose Ramirez with their game plan, it’s no accident Judge has been brutalized at the plate this series.
By the way, Judge struck out, and Gardner was caught stealing. See, this live blog is full of useful insights!
Andrew Miller has looked a little shaky at times during the postseason — well, for him — but he’s the Andrew Miller no opposing team wants to see tonight. He just racked up his fourth strikeout of the game to open the sixth.
Miller’s 35th pitch ends in a single by Castro, and now Aaron Hicks is up while Chase Headley begins to stir near the bats in the Yankees’ dugout. Man, Miller just threw 97 inside and there was no way Hicks or anyone was going to do anything with that. Five strikeouts, and that’ll be the final batter of Miller’s night, and maybe season. Not to get too dramatic or anything, but both teams are running out of outs.
Here comes Bryan Shaw, who Cleveland needs to be better than he was in Game 4 when he gave up a homer in his 1-1/3 innings of work. He certainly started off on the right foot, as he got pinch-hitter Chase Headley to strike out swinging. Girardi used up an option, and to no avail.
Jason Kipnis, Jose Ramirez, and Edwin Encarnacion are due to face Robertson this inning. Kipnis grounds out, and so now it’s time for Ramirez, who has basically vanished in this series. You can read about the how of it all at Let’s Go Tribe, but there is a good chance he’ll have made another out before you finish.
See, I almost didn’t update this live blog before Ramirez made his 20th out of the ALDS.
Encarnacion put a ride into one, but it wasn’t enough, and that’s the end of the sixth. The Indians have nine more outs left to catch up to the Yankees and extend their season.
Miller opens up the fifth by striking out his former teammate, Brett Gardner. Gardner has had a miserable ALDS, but the depths to which Judge has sunk has helped hide that. Speaking of Judge, we just got a battle of a 6-7 pitcher against a 6-7 hitter, and as Judge has previously done 14 times in the ALDS, he struck out. That’s 15 of 22 plate appearances ending with strikeout.
Didi Gregorius didn’t hit a homer, so clearly he’s declining, but he did hit a single. So there’s still hope for him yet.
Sabathia has recorded 12 outs, and just one of them was in the outfield. Number 13 is another strikeout, so CC Sabathia is now one away from double-digit Ks in a postseason game in 2017. Baseball rules.
He’ll have to wait to record it, though, as Austin Jackson hit a single. Oh no, does this mean Girardi was right to lift Sabathia for Jackson’s plate appearance in Game 2?!?
Jay Bruce just made it two hits in a row, and suddenly the Indians have a little something going with Roberto Perez up to bat.
Girardi isn’t messing around, as there is already someone warming in New York’s bullpen, just in case Sabathia can’t get out of this. While typing that, by the way, Jackson scored on another single to right. 3-1, Yankees.
I was surprised Giovanny Urshela didn’t drop a bunt right in front of Sabathia to push a run across, put the runner at first into scoring position, and maybe get a hit himself. Instead, though, he’s swinging away, and he laces a single to drive in another run. 3-2 Yankees, and now CC Sabathia has been lifted from the game for David Robertson after 69 pitches. Some nice, some less nice. The end result, though? Nice.
Robertson does his job, inducing a double play grounder against Lindor, and the Yankees exit the fifth with a lead intact. It’s now the battle of the two best bullpens around, with a whole lot of game left.
Don’t worry, Cleveland, Didi Gregorius isn’t up again for another seven batters.
It doesn’t matter, though, at least for Kluber, as Terry Francona just came out to remove Kluber from the game after 3-2/3 innings and 68 pitches. It’s hard to blame him: the Indians have a whole lot of game left, but they’re down 3-0 against vintage Sabathia and a bullpen that is at least as good as their own. Also, Didi will hit again eventually.
Miller gets the Indians out of the fourth without allowing his inherited baserunner to score, and so begins Cleveland’s uphill climb.
You know, if CC Sabathia pitched like this during the 2007 ALCS, recent baseball history would be a lot different! He has eight strikeouts through four innings, and just the one baserunner.
Kluber is both pitching well and making the broadcast a bit nervous with his missed spots, which just goes to show you how dominant he is when everything is clicking. The stuff is there, the command is not, and the result is 44 pitches through 2-1/3.
By the way, Aaron Judge just struck out for the 14th time in 21 plate appearances in this ALDS.
So, uh, Kluber might want to stop pitching to Didi Gregorius, who just hit a two-run homer off of him to the same dang place with the same dang swing. 3-0 Yankees, and the Indians are in trouble with Sabathia rolling.
Kluber shut them down the rest of the way, but Andrew Miller warming in the third inning of a decisive Game 5 while down 3-0 is… not great.
CC Sabathia, meanwhile, is looking like vintage Sabathia, even when Roberto Perez bunted at him. The ultimate sin in CC’s eyes. He’s through three innings and at 40 pitches, and the lefty already has six strikeouts.
Kluber starts off the second by striking out Greg Bird. Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks are still due up in the inning. Castro is up and down in a hurry, grounding out. While the homer off of Kluber is a knock, he’s also through his first five outs on just 19 pitches, which seems pretty Kluberesque. Nothing bothers this dude when he’s focused.
Hicks picked up a walk after being down 0-2, which brings us to a philosophical question: can we call him the first baserunner of the evening? Discuss among yourselves.
Jacoby Ellsbury is up to bat now, and as the broadcast points out, this is the only spot in the lineup Girardi has tweaked much during this series. While we’re on the subject, has anyone seen Matt Holliday in the last week?
Ellsbury performs the one trick he still has up his sleeves these days, and draws a catcher interference that puts him at first base. Ellsbury waits and waits to swing at breaking balls until they’re deep in the zone, which is part strategy and part Ellsbury’s reflexes and instincts aren’t what they used to be.
Nothing comes of Ellsbury’s CI get, though, as Kluber gets Todd Frazier to fly out.
Edwin Encarnacion will lead off the bottom of the second, which is notable mostly because he’s been out of action since the first inning of Game 2, when he rolled and sprained his ankle on a play at second. As the Indians have one hit from the DH spot all series, they could use Encarnacion here. Especially since, when he’s on, that ankle is mostly used to slow-trot around the bases.
To emphasize my point, Encarnacion just hit a foul ball so hard and far the crowd collectively gasped. He also struck out, though, because Sabathia is good at his job, too. That’s three punch outs for CC, who is at just 19 pitches through four outs.
[checks to see if Girardi is coming out to lift him]
Corey Kluber… he’s good, folks. Sure, he got knocked around in Game 2, but Ken Rosenthal, on the FS1 broadcast, says Kluber already identified the mechanical flaw that messed with his timing and corrected it, so we should see the actual, Cy Young-caliber version of the righty tonight.
Brett Gardner grounded out to kick things off, and then Aaron Judge worked a full count, which is basically the thing he’s done the most in this series. Besides strike out, anyway. But don’t worry, he did that on the next pitch for the second out.
I don’t mean to alarm you, but Judge has struck out 13 times in 16 at-bats in the ALDS. It’s a good thing he doesn’t face Indians’ pitching all year long, because he would be on pace for 423 strikeouts over 650 plate appearances right now.
Didi Gregorius hit a solo shot to right while I was doing that math, so it’s 1-0 Yankees, and we’re still unclear on which Kluber showed up for Game 5. Gary Sanchez then struck out to end the inning, so… we still don’t know which Kluber is here.
CC Sabathia was lifted after just 77 pitches in Game 2 even though he had retired 12 of his previous 13 batters, because Joe Girardi wanted to play platoon matchups. Francisco Lindor hit a grand slam later that inning, by the way, so spoiler, that plan didn’t work. Will Girardi be as quick to pull CC tonight, given there is no tomorrow if the Yankees lose? We’ll find out in a few innings!
Speaking of Lindor, he’s leading things off for Cleveland, and his lone hit is that grand slam. It’s not a bad choice if you’ve only got one in you. Which he very well might, since he struck out, as did Jason Kipnis.
That stat about CC never losing an ALDS start that the broadcast gave is nifty and all, but it’s also a bit misleading, as Sabathia lost his lone NLDS start back in 2008 when he pitched for the Brewers. Not that I care about any kind of pitcher W-L record, but, you know, gotta make sure y’all are fed the proper context.
Sabathia gets a 1-2-3 inning, picking up where he left off Friday before Girardi so rudely interrupted him, and it’s off to the second inning.
Yankees vs. Indians live updates: Score and highlights from ALDS Game 5 – SB Nation